If you’ve been trying to lose weight, you might have heard about the benefits of doing yoga. Yoga is considered a low-impact workout, so it’s suitable for people with certain physical conditions or chronic pain. It has also been shown to help with sleep quality and general mental health — both of which are important for achieving your weight loss goals!
What Is Yoga?
Yoga, in its most basic form, is a form of exercise that consists mainly of stretching and balancing postures. It can help with flexibility, strength, and stress-reduction.
There are many different types of yoga, including power yoga, Hatha yoga, and Bikram yoga. However, most people think of the type that involves holding static poses — a.k.a “just standing there”–for an extended period.
How Yoga helps one to lose weight
Yoga is a low-impact exercise. It can be as easy or as challenging (or intense!) as you want it to be. However, the main thing that makes yoga so beneficial for weight loss is that it places little stress on your joints, bones, and muscles. While there are some standing poses in yoga, many of them are seated or reclined variations — including the shoulder stand, which can help you build back and arm strength.
How to incorporate yoga into your weight loss routine
To begin, simply find a beginner-friendly class that you enjoy. Many gyms offer free or low-cost classes to members. If you don’t have a gym membership, many studios will have classes on the weekends and in different locations throughout the city.
Go slowly until you feel comfortable with the postures. A good place to start is with simple forward folds (forward bend) and backbends (backbend). These can help open up your hips and shoulders, improving your posture.
If you’re interested in more advanced practice, consider trying a class that focuses specifically on strength and endurance. As a yoga teacher and personal trainer Emily Fletcher notes, these classes may combine standing poses with “active” seated poses — such as mountain pose with side kicks or fire log pose with crescent lunges — to keep the heart rate elevated while working different muscles.
Yoga is a good place to start when incorporating more activity into your daily life. The physical, mental, and emotional benefits of yoga can help you make healthier choices in the long term.